Welcome to the penultimate review of peak jelly bean season. Tonight, we try Smarties Jelly Beans.
In case anyone isn’t familiar with Smarties, they’re a soft, bland SweeTarts knockoff that come in plastic-wrapped rolls, most frequently seen being distributed to trick-or-treaters by people who apparently have never tasted SweeTarts.
Now that I’ve made my expectations for the taste of these beans fairly clear, let’s see how they actually stand up to scrutiny.
Size and shape
Quality control is sorely lacking in these jelly beans. There is a staggering number of beans that are missing large swaths of their shell. The variance in size is probably the worst I’ve ever seen. There are quite a few double beans and other deformities.
Shape is a particularly sore spot. Most beans are squarish trapezoidal prisms with a dimple placed on one of the two largest faces. It’s extremely bizarre.
In a first for this site, I have no choice but to rate Smarties Jelly Beans a 0 in this category.
0 out of 5 beans
In what I think is another first for this site, I’m going to complain about inconsistency of chewability from bean to bean in this package. It seems like most jelly beans in a single package are normally very alike, but in this case, some beans are way too soft, and others are just right, and most are in between.
2 out of 5 beans
It is in this category that Smarties Jelly Beans, like their namesake candy, really seem to be borrowing from their SweeTart superiors, particularly in regards to the shell.
In my review of SweeTarts Jelly Beans, I wrote:
“The shell breaks down at exactly the right pace. It goes from fully intact before the first bite, to medium-sized hunks on initial breakup, to finishing as a fine powder that evokes the texture of an original SweeTart in its final stages of chewing.”
I can say nearly the exact same thing about the shell of Smarties Jelly Beans.
The difference comes on the inside, where Smarties Jelly Beans earn a demerit for having a bubble-gummy texture. Still, we finally have a solid category for Smarties.
4 out of 5 beans
Taste and flavor
Smarties Jelly Beans do not claim specific flavors, and the favors themselves are so generic, they’re impossible to pinpoint.
I will give them credit for not being completely bland white sugar bombs. They actually remind me a decent bit of SweeTarts Jelly Beans in their balance of sweetness and sourness. They have enough tartness to be more enjoyable to me than not, but that’s about all I can say when I can’t really differentiate the flavors.
6 out of 10 beans
The one-of-each test
Perhaps the ultimate test of a bag of jelly beans is how enjoyable it is to take one of each flavor and eat them all at the same time.1
Physically, this test proceeds without incident; chewing five slightly-large-but-slightly-soft beans isn’t challenging. But again, the lack of distinct flavors reduces the complexity significantly. There’s just nothing special about it.
4 out of 10 beans
Smarties Jelly Beans proved to mirror the original candy, delivering a product that I would never choose over the SweeTarts competition.
I hope I didn’t create a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it was hard not to. I suppose the best I can do is be up-front about my existing biases and rate things as objectively as possible, according to the system I set up.
|Size and shape||0/5 beans|
|Taste and flavor||6/10 beans|
|One-of-each test||4/10 beans|
This test is specific to fruit flavors only. While non-fruit flavors like licorice or buttered popcorn may be welcome, they are exempt from this test. Because that’s just nasty. ↩